– As delivered –
Statement by H.E. Mrs. María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly
Delivered by H.E. Ms. Alya Ahmed Saif Al-Thani, Vice-President of the General Assembly and Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar
6 June 2019
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Cooperation between the United Nations and regional and sub-regional organizations has been a cornerstone of the work of the United Nations. Regional and sub-regional organizations play pivotal roles in their respective regions in the areas of peace and security, human rights and development.
In particular, cooperation between the United Nations and these organizations in matters of crime prevention and criminal justice has intensified given the magnitude and complexity of challenges facing the international community today. Therefore, I am delighted that representatives of many regional organizations will be joining us today during our informal interactive dialogues, to reflect how we can strengthen and promote partnerships in these fields. And I would like to thank very warmly our co-organizer, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, whose New York office was instrumental in organizing our debate today.
The General Assembly has emphasized the intrinsic link between sustainable development and fair, effective, accessible and humane criminal justice systems and institutions. Access to fair justice systems, accountable and inclusive institutions as well as measures to combat corruption, curb illicit financial flows derived from criminal activity and counter all forms of exploitation, trafficking, violence and torture are integral to sustainable development. The implementation of the UN Conventions dedicated to organized crime, corruption and drugs and other criminal phenomena is thus of the utmost importance. Regional and sub-regional organizations may also have an important contribution to make in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
One of the questions I hope will be addressed in the thematic debate today is how to tackle social and economic challenges and promote sustainable development through strengthening crime prevention and criminal justice systems. I look forward to hearing from you which priorities, gaps and emerging issues require further attention and support in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – from the standpoint of regional organizations and the point of view of national policies and international cooperation.
This is particularly important as we approach the review of Sustainable Development Goal 16 at the High-Level Political Forum in July, and prepare for the HLPF under the auspices of the General Assembly in September. And, looking further to the future, our deliberations today will provide an input to the Fourteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in April 2020, the theme of which is “Advancing crime prevention, criminal justice and the rule of law: towards the achievement of the 2030 Agenda”.
As you embark on your discussions today, I encourage you to be mindful of the key principles of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — the commitment to leave no one behind, to advance a more people-centred approach and to achieve a sustainable and just world. Let us make the most of this opportunity to strengthen cooperation among our respective organizations and set a course for policies that support our common aspirations for healthy people, peaceful and just societies, and a better future for all.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to thank all of you, and especially our panelists and moderators for a full day of interesting and fruitful discussions. Allow me thank in particular the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, and especially Ms. Simone Monasebian, for her and her office’s outstanding support in organizing this high-level thematic debate today.
As we reflect on today’s discussion dedicated to the role of regional organizations in strengthening and implementing crime prevention initiatives and criminal justice responses, there are a few key points, which I wish to highlight:
First, international cooperation and coordination, both at the regional and at the global level, in particular assisted through United Nations programmes and initiatives, is increasing in the area of crime prevention and criminal justice. We have heard how action at the global level can be complemented by regional action and national initiatives, and have also discussed how this cooperation and coordination can be further strengthened and enhanced. Capacity building and technical assistance, as well as increased efforts to identify strategic complementarity and to avoid duplication of initiatives, were mentioned as areas where it is necessary to enhance cooperation and coordination, including among practitioners. Moreover, we can still do more to increase information sharing and sharing of best practices among regional organizations. Speakers underscored the importance of the UN Conventions addressing organized crime, corruption and drugs as well as the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and the UN Crime Congresses, including regional preparatory meetings. They also highlighted the importance of cooperating with the UN system, in particular UNODC.
Second, we have learned about the initiatives and programmes implemented by regional and sub-regional organizations, and have learned about some of the challenges they face. In particular, implementation of criminal justice initiatives as part of transitional justice efforts, challenges related to the geographical scope of regional organizations and funding challenges were highlighted. The importance of gender mainstreaming, advocacy, and specialized training in financial analysis and data collection was also underlined.
Third, we have heard about persisting and emerging challenges in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice. Indeed, we must step up our efforts, globally, regionally and nationally to combat transnational crime, terrorism, cybercrime, the rise in violent crimes connected to extremism, trafficking in persons, drug-related crime and illicit trafficking in weapons.
And fourthly, we have heard about the role of regional organizations in the field of criminal justice towards implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In order to fully implement the 2030 Agenda, globally, regionally and nationally we must step our efforts, including where the capacities of criminal justice and law enforcement entities are concerned. Particular attention was paid to the implementation of SDG 16 on access to justice and effective, inclusive, and accountable institutions, which was identified as a universal challenge across all regions. The rule of law and access to fair justice systems, accountable and inclusive institutions are a fundamental precondition to realizing the sustainable development goals, and we must work harder to cooperate on measures to combat corruption, curb illicit financial flows derived from criminal activity and counter all forms of exploitation, trafficking, violence and torture. More concerted efforts, including at the regional level, are required if we are to succeed in implementing fully the goals we have set for ourselves.
As we approach the review of SDG 16 at the High-Level Political Forum in July, and prepare for the HLPF under the auspices of the General Assembly in September, your reflections today have been an important contribution. I am confident that our discussions will add great value to the preparations of the Fourteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in April 2020, devoted to implementation of the Agenda 2030, and building on the previous Congress held in Doha.
Our debate today has been a true example of multilateralism in practice. I am heartened by this and truly impressed by the breadth of regional initiatives and dedication in different organizations and regions on display today. Let us continue to work to enhance international and regional cooperation in crime prevention and criminal justice, and to continue to strengthen the role of regional organizations to enable access to justice and fair, effective and accountable criminal justice systems.